Welcome to Dunningen, a town right on the edge of both the Swabian Alb and the Black Forest. Or, should I say, welcome to Donnelay — its French name for three years in the early 1900s.
whatever it’s called now, or what it was called, doesn’t change the fact that you couldn’t be more centrally located in Baden-Württemberg than you are right now. You’re just about an hour from Switzerland, Lake Constance, and Stuttgart; and just about twice that time from Austria.
Good deal, no wonder lots of folks just show up to see the place.
A fantastic place to start off is at the Local History Museum, where you’ll find exhibits on everything from 19th century industry to its location near the Imperial City of Rottweil (only 10km southeast), and how the Alemanni were Christianized in the region.
Speaking of Christians, Dunningen is well-known for its annual Christmas Concerts during Advent. There are also a couple of very pretty churches within the town’s villages.
Take Seedorf, for example. You can see its Village Church steeple off in the distance amidst the surrounding green fields and red-roofed houses. This is also a village where you’ll find old half-timbered houses right along modern city streets.
What you’ll also find right near modern roads are castle ruins. Five of them to be precise. It’s hard to pick which one you’ll like best — I’m still trying to decide…
Start with what little remains of Burg Dunningen, a lowland castle that’s been reduced to rubble. A sad end for a castle that goes back more than a thousand years.
Hohenschramberg is another ruin; a 15th century castle that’s been set ablaze by French troops in 1689, and under siege during the Thirty Years’ War. One of the best parts that still stands is the Chapel Tower.
From here it’s on to the ruins of Castle Falkenstein, built in the 12th century with its own moat. Right in the shadow of it lies the former pilgrimage Falkenstein Chapel.
The ruins of Castle Schilteck await — but they’re not going anywhere. At least for now that is, since they stopped its stones from being used as a quarry.
Last, but certainly not least, are the ruins of Castle Ramstein. The view from its 688 meters above sea level is astounding, and enhanced by its medieval moat and wall.
You know what, this one is my favorite — even if it has been a ruin longer than it stood.
In case you’re wondering, Castle Ramstein was built in the early 1100s, and destroyed back in 1451.
None of these are as old as the Roman Villa Rustica found nearby — a good find if you’re a history lover.
Whether you’re a history, nature, or cultural lover — you’ll be more than happy here in and around Dunningen. I’m not so sure about Donnelay, though. ;-)